AT&T Corp. shareholders today voted overwhelmingly for a charter amendment that would make it easier for shareholders to authorize a breakup of the company. Any disposition will require just a majority vote, rather than the two-thirds vote previously required. Shareholders voted 2.7 billion shares, or about 96% of shares voted, to ratify the amendment. Of AT&Ts total 3.7 billion shares outstanding, 62% voted in favor and 3% opposed, according to the company.
The vote, at the annual meeting in Cincinnati, makes it easier for AT&T to carry out its plans to break the company into several parts, including business and consumer telephone services, broadband cable TV and Internet access, AT&T Wireless, and Liberty Media Corp. Also, AT&T and British Telecommunications are in discussions that could lead to further restructuring.
Many influential shareholders including the $152 billion California Public Employees Retirement System, Sacramento, which has 16.9 million shares supported the amendment, which had been highly contended among some corporate governance activists.
All tallies are preliminary.